Titans win title at Wheaton North tournament

 
 
Posted12/30/2021 8:00 AM

Glenbrook South sophomore Chloe Gonzalez scored 13 of her 21 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Titans to the title of Wheaton North's Bill Neibch Falcon Classic girls basketball tournament on Tuesday.

Host Wheaton North, without two starters, led all the way into the fourth quarter, but Glenbrook South used a 25-point fourth quarter to charge past the Falcons to a 57-48 win.

 

"She's tremendous," Titans coach Scott Nemecek said of Gonzalez, who helped the program win its sixth Falcon Classic title and first since 2018.

"First half she had some good looks, step-in threes she missed, but she knows they'll go in eventually. She has confidence and it's unwavering."

That confidence showed when Gonzalez drilled back-to-back 3-pointers from the left wing, the second tying the score at 40-40 with 5:27 left. Her free throw on Glenbrook South's next possession gave the Titans a 41-40 lead with 5:05 left, their first of the game.

"I think I saw the ball go through the hoop a few times, and once it did I got some confidence," said Gonzalez, who shot 8-for-16 from the field, with three 3-pointers all coming in the second half.

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Wheaton North, which hangs its hat on ball-hawking run-and-jump defense, couldn't shut off Glenbrook South's late offensive onslaught that repeatedly broke pressure and turned into layups.

"We switched how we were playing to see if we could get some defensive plays to go, it's a defense we haven't played a lot and we tried to be a little too aggressive. It was sort of out of desperation," Wheaton North coach Dave Eaton said.

"We got out and sort of matched out a little bit, and when we matched that's when their athleticism shined and they went right to the rim."

No Titan is more athletic than jet-quick point guard Sidney Rogers, who scored 9 of her 15 points in the third quarter. Rogers' three-point play in the final seconds of the quarter cut Wheaton North's lead to 34-32.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Glenbrook South (9-6) shot 63.6% from the floor in the second half, after shooting just 33.3% in the first. Freshman guard Gina Davorija scored 9 points with 8 rebounds; senior guard Molly Durow added 8 points, 3 assists.

"Wheaton North does such a great job on defense of making you play fast," Nemecek said, "but I think once we were able to slow down and break the seal the girls settled in real nicely."

The Titans overcame 26 points and 9 rebounds from tournament MVP Claire Hyde, who had to earn every basket on 9-for-31 shooting.

Wheaton North freshman Sara Abdul, coming off a career-high 23 points in her team's semifinal win, scored 11 of her 13 points in the third quarter Tuesday. Abdul's nifty Eurostep in transition gave the Falcons a 34-29 lead late in the quarter.

But the short-handed Falcons shot just 28.8% for the game while leaning heavily on Hyde, a guard, with senior Caroline Gaither out with a foot injury and COVID, and fellow starter Eden Pearson also down with COVID.

Wheaton North (12-3) was denied its first Falcon Classic title since 2016, the second time this season it came up short in a tournament championship.

"In the Lyons championship game we didn't play well against LT, and the majority of that is due to LT and their athleticism and today, in our championship game we didn't play well because of Glenbrook South's physicality," Eaton said.

"They got into us a little bit and we just didn't respond. We haven't had a team be physical with us and they did a great job taking us out of what we want to do offensively," he said.

Gonzalez and Rogers each were voted onto the Neibch Falcon Classic All-Tournament Team. It was their second such notice this season, also named all-tournament at the Mundelein Thanksgiving Tournament, where Glenbrook South was the runner-up.

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